August 11th, 2014

Paladino and partners, buyers of Fort Erie Race Track, plan to keep it open

Via The Buffalo News
By Lisa Khoury

Carl Paladino has purchased the Fort Erie Race Track, and he plans to keep the track open while developing the adjacent vacant property.

The Buffalo developer, who closed on the deal Friday evening with business partners Bill Mosey and Joel Castle, said the group’s goals include developing the 200 acres that surround the racetrack and making the racetrack self-sustaining.

“I think, overall, the development of the Fort Erie region, whether it be NASCAR or the race track or other forms of development that we intend to put up there, will enhance Buffalo as a place to be,” Paladino said.

Paladino and his partners purchased the 338-acre property and adjoining vacant land from the Nordic Gaming Corporation (El Ad Canada) because it was a “nice development opportunity,” he said. Paladino did not disclose the purchase price.

The business partners have planned how they’re going to develop the surrounding acres, he said, but he wouldn’t release details until they meet with their managing partner and finalize the plan.

He did say that their goals include keeping open the 117-year-old racetrack, which was on the verge of closing at the end of the last racing season.

“One of our goals is to help make sure that the track has a good chance to become self-sustaining without Canadian government assistance,” he said.

The racetrack has relied on subsidies from the Canadian government in the past.

The racetrack and the surrounding acres that will be developed will help both Fort Erie and Buffalo proper, Paladino said.

“Being miles from the border and miles from the city, and obviously for New Yorkers who like NASCAR, it should bring all kinds of new business to the Buffalo area,” Paladino said.

The complex has been for sale since 2007. Horse racing fans from both sides of the border, the Fort Erie business community and the track’s employees did not want to see it close. The racetrack has a yearly economic impact of $27 million.

Paladino added that with the purchase, it is pertinent that Peace Bridge officials ensure Buffalonians and Canadians can easily pass through the border.

“They’re trapping people on the bridge for an hour or two hours,” Paladino said. “The government can do more to provide a good service in the sense of getting people through that turmoil.”

Paladino said he couldn’t say when he would release more information on his plans, but he offered one hint: “I think in the approximate future, you’re going to see Fort Erie prosper.”

August 11th, 2014

Ellicott Development buys Lutheran Church Home

Via Buffalo News

Ellicott Development Co. acquired the vacant Lutheran Church Home of Buffalo on the East Side earlier this week for $450,000, but is still evaluating its plans for redeveloping the property.

Located at 217 and 227 East Delavan Ave., the 25,220-square-foot former assisted-living facility for the Niagara Lutheran Community was built in 1906, with renovations and additions in 1950 and again in 1995. The three-story brick structure, actually two buildings sitting on 2.24 acres, is part of the Hamlin Park Historic District, making it eligible for historic tax credits for renovations.

The complex features 65 resident rooms, a full commercial kitchen remodeled in the 1990s, a 75-seat dining area, a social hall, a library, a chapel, three elevators, a detached two-level masonry garage, and parking for more than 35 vehicles, according to a brochure from Hunt Commercial Real Estate broker Jane Munro Theriault, who handled the sale. It has a monitored security system with cameras and motion detectors. The property was last assessed at $1.26 million.

“We are exploring a number of different options for the property,” said William Paladino, president and CEO of Ellicott Development Co. “The property has a lot of good infrastructure and we like its proximity to Canisius College and Medaille College.”

August 7th, 2014

Buffalo Christian Center to close; property sold to Ellicott

Via Buffalo Business First
By David Bertola

After selling its building, creating a new foundation and spinning off its top programs, Buffalo Christian Center is closing.

Last year, new Buffalo Christian Center leadership examined how its building at 512 Pearl Street could be leveraged to accomplish the organization’s mission of serving local at-risk youth through its myriad programs. In doing so, it was determined that the building would need more than $5 million in renovations. Leadership met with industry experts, community leaders and donors about doing so, and a consulting group created a plan to account for large capital expenditures to pay for renovations.

After determining that the level of impact on the community wouldn’t correlate with the amount needed to modernize the building, and that raising $5 million was unlikely, it was decided to sell their building at 512 Pearl Street in Buffalo.

Leadership had considered other options once it moved, including relocating, merging and dissolving. Ultimately, it was decided to spin off its three primary programs to other organizations. Proceeds of the building’s sale to Ellicott Development Co. allowed the center to create the YouthTime Foundation with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to continue serving at-risk youth. The deal is expected to close next week, and the sale price was not disclosed.

Moving forward, YouthTime will grant money to Buffalo organizations with missions focused on youth.

Ellicott Development President and CEO William Paladino said that the building has historic value. And while they haven’t decided what they’ll do with it after the deal closes, Paladino said the company will seek state and federal historic tax credits for whatever they choose.

“We have some ideas; it may tie in with other things we have planned in the same area,” he said, adding that an ample parking lot is a draw in an area where parking can be a challenge.

The building includes a Forbes Theater, a roller rink, basketball court and swimming pool.

“We’ll probably keep some of those, most likely the Forbes Theater and pool, but it all really depends on our final plans,” he said.

No time frame has been set for redevelopment, or whether it will be mixed use with commercial and residential components or more residential than commercial.

August 6th, 2014

RealtyUSA crossing Delaware for new home for commercial unit

Via Buffalo Business First
By Jim Fink

An expansion plan by Lawley Insurance is prompting RealtyUSA to relocate its commercial real estate division in Buffalo.

Next month, RealtyUSA’s commercial division will be moving from its longtime home in the Pleu Building at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Tupper Street to literally just across the street to another building at 344 Delaware Ave. Both buildings are owned by Ellicott Development Co.

RealtyUSA had been a tenant in the Pleu Building for the past 20 years, leasing 3,500-square-feet in what had been, at one time, the home of the Par Avion store.

In its new space, RealtyUSA will be leasing approximately the same amount of square feet but on the second floor of the 344 Delaware Avenue Building, said Tim Hourihan, RealtyUSA commercial division manager.

“We always found Ellicott to be a very good landlord,” Hourihan said. “This whole move has been very seamless.”

The RealtyUSA office has 15 commercial agents and brokers.

Once RealtyUSA moves, Lawley Insurance will occupy all of the first and second floors of the Pleu Building.